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Conference is Over – Now What?

The writer’s conference you just attended was AMAZING, but now what do you do? Here are a few tips to make the most of your experience.

After You Get Home

Don't forget to write!
  • Give yourself a day off, at least from writing-related tasks. Your brain will process your experience even if you’re not consciously chasing after it. Unpack, do laundry, get settled.  Go to your day job if you must. But give your brain a rest from conference things, let your mind have a day to process.
  • After a day or two of rest, followup with the contacts you made. You’re recharged, and ready to reach out.
    • Remember how I said to have a system for all those business cards/contact info you collected during the conference?  Here is where that organization pays off. You should have, all in one place, contact information, and notes about how you intended to followup.  Now is the time to send those emails or texts, make anticipated phone calls, or get something in snail mail (yes, some people still do that). You’re a professional, so of course you’re following through in a timely manner.  Well done!
  • You took a lot of notes during Conference, didn’t you? Review all that fantastic information you nearly drowned in just a couple of days ago. Summarize what you’ve learned. Taking the time to do this now will help you retain what matters most. Jot down an action list, a book-buying list, a “must-try-this” list as you go along.
  • Head over to the websites of those you met – read blogs and leave comments.  Write a review. Connect on social media. Stay in touch and nurture the new professional connections you made.
  • Shoot off a few emails, leave comments on websites, engage with those you met. The relationships you build now may have impact on your writing career later.
  • And finally, if you had a good experience, let the organizers know.  Participate in surveys, so they can further improve their event next year. Consider volunteering to help out at future events. Become active in your local writing community.

Most important of all? Don’t forget to write!


Editor’s Note: A huge thank you to everyone who attended PPWC2019! We hope you had as much fun as we did! Please remember to fill out the survey you will receive shortly. Also, please consider volunteering for PPWC2020. It is a wonderful way to give back to the writing community!


Profile Photo of Gabrielle V Brown Managing Editor Pikes Peak Writers Blog

Gabrielle V. Brown, Contributing Editor with Writing From the Peak, writes all manner of fiction and nonfiction. Visit her website, find her on Facebook, and instagram orcontact her at gvbrownwriter@gmail.com

It’s Conference Time!

Pikes Peak Writer's Conference 2019. It Takes a Tribe.

You’ve made the decision to up the ante and forward your writing career by attending a conference – good for you! You’ve got your spot reserved, your travel and lodging are booked, and your first writers’ conference is just around the corner. How can you get the most out of the time and money you’ve invested?

A bit of planning will go a long way to a successful writers’ conference whether this is your first or fifteenth. Here are a few items to get you started on the right track.

Before the Conference:

  • Make sure your business cards are accurate and reflect the genre you write in. If you don’t have business cards, get some, pronto. Remember, this is a professional conference, and professionals have business cards. You can make your own or use an affordable online service such as VistaPrint.com, zazzle.com, or MOO.com. Business cards should have, at the least, your email address, your website, and handles for your professional (not personal) social media.
  • Speaking of social media, how’s your online presence? You should assume that least a few of the people you meet will check our your site or your social media. If you haven’t posted a blog in several months, take a bit of time to put something current on your page. Same for your social media – put up a post or gram or tweet or two!
  • Identify your expectations and goals to maximize your conference experience. Review the workshops and events offered, and put together a game plan. Check the conference website for a schedule and decide where you want to be for each time block. I like to print the schedule out ahead of time and mark it up with highlighters.
  • Take some time to review conference and event maps. You’ll spend less time trying to locate where your next workshop is.  Less time navigating means more time networking.
  • Perfect your elevator pitch. Even if you don’t have a finished novel, you can describe what you write and why you’re at the conference in a few sentences. Practice your pitch in front of the mirror.  Get feedback, make it just right, and then memorize it. That way, when the big-deal New York agent makes eye contact or your favorite best-selling author smiles at you, you’ve got effective words at the ready. Even if your heart is pitter-patting and your brain has frozen.
  • Research workshop presenters and keynotes, particularly the ones leading sessions you’ll be attending. Check out  their websites and social media.  Google them. You’ll be more comfortable interacting with them, and who knows, you may have something in common!
  • Bring copies of your synopsis; you never know who may want to take a look.

Pack Smart:

  • Pack business casual clothes, and plan on layers. Hotels and conference centers have notoriously unpredictable climate control systems, and you’ll be thankful you can don or remove that cardigan or blazer as needed.
  • Bring a refillable water bottle. You’ll be more alert if you’re hydrated. I also pack a few protein-rich snacks such as trail mix or jerky, to satisfy a growling tummy without the carb crash from the candy on the meeting tables.
  • Make sure you have note-taking supplies in your arsenal. Some writers prefer a notebook and pen, some would rather tap into a tablet or laptop. I usually bring both paper and electronic. I also throw in a highlighter for marking handouts and a sharpie, just in case my favorite author’s runs out right when I get to the front of the book-signing line.
  • You can bring a book or two, but don’t expect to have time to read. These will be for obtaining author signatures. But don’t bring more than a couple, better to purchase some at the event bookstore – thus supporting both the author and the conference.
  • Chargers and battery packs will make your life easier – no running up to your room because an important device is dead.  Many conferences now offer charging stations in meeting rooms, but don’t count on it.
  • Make sure you’ve got something to hold your gear while traveling from session to session. A backpack, tote, or attache should do. Consider putting an extra tote in your suitcase, because you’re going to have to get that bookstore bounty back up to your room somehow. And then home!
  • Bring workout wear, running gear, or a swimsuit. Moving your body helps keep you alert and energized, and you’ll appreciate it after spending many hours in windowless, fluorescent lit meeting rooms.
  • Make sure you have got lip balm, mints, tissues and ibuprofen/acetaminophen with you wherever you go. Not only will you ensure your own comfort, but you’ve got instant networking/icebreaking tools at your ready.  Pop a mint and offer one – easy engagement for even the most introverted. And it’s great to be the hero who has headache medicine to share when someone staggers in looking for relief after too much bar-con networking last night.
  • If you have a book, for sure bring marketing materials – bookmarks, postcards, pencils, whatever. There’s often a freebie table where you can place these items for perusal and pickup by other attendees.

At the Writers’ Conference

  • Take lots of notes, buy a book and have it signed, ask questions and be flexible.
  • Take advantage of networking opportunities. Talk to presenters in between sessions (be respectful of their time, they may be in a hurry). Engage with other attendees at meals. Stop by the lobby/bar area in the evening after sessions are over. You don’t need to be a drinker to attend bar-con, and you may get some quality, less formal face-to-face time with someone you’d been wanting to meet. You’ve make an investment in time and money to be here; take advantage of these opportunities.
  • Be generous with those business cards, and collect contact information from those you meet. Have a system (beyond stuffing their business cards in your back pocket) for keeping track of who you talk with. I keep a small notebook with a pocket just for this – cards go in the pocket and I make a note of why I have that card.  Not everyone may give you a card – you may get an email address from a presenter, or a phone number for texting. Whatever it is, get it down. You’ll be glad you did!
  • It isn’t unusual to be overwhelmed, especially at larger conferences. Give yourself permission to skip a session and head up to your room for decompression time. Or go for a walk, get outdoors and breathe in some fresh air and sunshine and quiet. You’ll be ready to head back in after a bit. Lots of us are introverts, we get the need to be away from the crowd now and then.
  • Don’t feel you must attend every single session, unless of course that is a requirement of the event you’re attending. You know what you hope to get out of this conference, plan your time accordingly. Missing a session because you ended up in a long post-lunch conversation doesn’t mean you’re not getting value from that time.
  • And most of all, enjoy yourself!  How often do you get to hang out with so many people who share your passion for the written word  You want to go home with some warm fuzzy memories.  Maybe you can write them into your latest work!

So spend a little time preparing before you head off to that Writer’s Conference.  You’ll be glad you did!

Pikes Peak Writing Conference is May 3-5, 2019. Registration is open until April 28th! See you there!!


Profile Photo of Gabrielle V Brown Managing Editor Pikes Peak Writers Blog

Gabrielle V. Brown, Contributing Editor with Writing From the Peak, writes all manner of fiction and nonfiction. Visit her website ,find her on Facebook, and instagram ; contact her at gvbrownwriter@gmail.com

Sweet Success for Kendra Merritt

Congratulations to Kendra Merritt on the release of her YA fantasy, Skin Deep, releasing from Blue Frye Press April 1, 2019.

Skin Deep (A Mark of the Least Novel) by [Merritt, Kendra]

Cursed for a youthful accident which maimed a young woman, Léon Beauregard roams his mountain as a bear, clinging to the scraps of his humanity. But when he comes across an enchanter scarred from an accident she doesn’t remember, she promises to free him.

As the graceful young woman studies his curse, Léon begins to realize she is much more than just a passing enchanter. She’s the one he’s falling in love with. And she is the one whose life he ruined. When bodies show up mauled by a large animal, Léon has more to hide and everything to lose if Anwen ever learns the truth about the monster inside him.

Kendra Merritt
Kendra Merritt

Kendra Merritt is an author and avid reader living in Denver with her very tall husband, their book loving progeny, and a big black monster masquerading as a service dog.

She writes familiar stories from unfamiliar points of view, highlighting heroes with disabilities. Her first book, By Wingéd Chair, is a retelling of Robin Hood where Maid Marion kicks butt from a wheelchair.

Sweet Success for Catherine Dilts

Congratulations to Catherine Dilts on the publication of her new amateur sleuth mystery, Survive or Die, from Encircle Publications, released February 28,2019 (ISBN: 978-1-948338-33-2, e-book, 390 pgs).

You think you’re gonna Survive, but you’re gonna Die. Die. Die. The owner of a dysfunctional company arranges a mandatory team-building exercise at the Survive or Die survivalist camp, once the setting for a defunct reality TV show. When he receives a death threat, what surprises employees is not that someone wants their lecherous, hard-drinking boss dead. The surprise is that he’s not the first casualty. The unexpected demise of a coworker’s husband barely causes a ripple. The annoying photographer’s death is attributed to natural causes. The excitement comes when the boss announces the winner of the week-long game will receive a raise, and the loser will be fired. Most employees dig in with grim determination. A few have other agendas.


Catherine Dilts
Catherine Dilts

Catherine Dilts is the author of the Rock Shop Mystery series, while her short stories appear regularly in Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine. She takes a turn in the multi-author sweet cozy mystery series Secrets of the Castleton Manor Library with Ink or Swim. With a day job as an environmental regulatory technician, Catherine’s stories often have environmental or factory-based themes. Others reflect her love of the Colorado mountains. Visit Catherine at her website.

Her book is available through Encircle Publications.

Event Cancellation

The March 13 Write Drunk; Edit Sober meeting at Bar-K is cancelled due to pending weather conditions. We’re sorry for any inconvenience, but we want people to be safe. Please join us next month on April 10th for the next Write Drunk; Edit Sober. 

Volunteer for PPWC 2019

Thanks to our members who have stepped up. At this time, all of the large and medium volunteer positions have been filled for 2019. But we’re always looking for people who want to shadow our chairs, learn the ropes and position themselves for expanded responsibilities in the future.  In an organization run completely by volunteers, we’re always looking for more volunteers to share the work so that the work doesn’t always fall to a few uber-dedicated people.   What can you do next year?  Moderate a workshop, put up signs, help with publicity, support our fundraising efforts, drive faculty, stuff bags, staff the registration desk, help in the ballroom, help in the bookstore, become part of the Tech Team and more. We always need help in these areas as well as many more. So contact our Volunteer Coordinator at ppwcvolunteer@pikespeakwriters.com to see what positions might still be open now as well as our needs for 2020.

Sweet Success for Carol Berg

An Illusion of Thieves by, Cate Glass

Exciting news from Carol Berg!

I have a new three-book deal with Tor Books for a fantasy adventure series called Chimera. I will be writing this series under the nom de plume, Cate Glass.

Chimera is the name taken on by a group of four rag-tag sorcerers – a former courtesan, a professional dualist, a metalsmith, and a youth whose first job is an alehouse bouncer–in a world where magic is a death sentence. The four  discover that there are some causes that make using their talents worth the risk.

The first book, An Illusion of Thieves, will be released on May 21, 2019.

See everyone at conference!

Carol

Carol Berg
Carol Berg

As Cate Glass, author of An Illusion of Thieves, first novel of the Chimera, forthcoming in 2019 from Tor Books! 

As Carol Berg, award-winning author of the Books of the Rai-kirah, The Lighthouse Duet, The Sanctuary Duet, the Novels of the Collegia Magica.



Do you have a Sweet Success you would like to share? Click here to get started. Membership in Pikes Peak Writers is needed to be featured in Sweet Success.


Volunteer of the Year Nominations Open

The Volunteer of the Year nominations are open! If you know someone who has gone out of their way as a volunteer for Pikes Peak Writers, we want to hear about it. We annually award Pikes Peak Volunteer of the Year and Pikes Peak Writers Conference Volunteer of the Year. When the occasion demands it, we recognize individuals for many years of effort with a special Legacy Award. If you know someone who deserves this extra recognition, please visit https://pikespeakwriters.com/about/ppw-awards/ and nominate them! Help us shine a light on our brightest stars!

Sweet Success for DeAnna Knippling

Congratulations to DeAnna Knippling and the release of the multi-authored Dawn of the Monsters. Other featured authors are: Dean Wesley Smith, Ron Collins, P. D. Cacek, Mark Leslie, Steve Vernon , Annie Reed, Sèphera Girón, Rebecca M. Senese, Marcelle Dubé, and Jamie Ferguson.

DeAnna Knippling, Dawn of MonstersThis volume, DAWN OF THE MONSTERS, features trolls, goblins, creeps, mad scientists, vampires, aliens, Frankenstein, a very nasty ex-girlfriend, a mysterious egg, a bargain you can’t refuse, something dark and mysterious that lives underground, and a disgusting, evil beast straight out of the swamp!

We can’t promise that these tales won’t make you think…but they’ll grab you by your sense of adventure and take you for a ride!

DeAnna KnipplingDeAnna Knippling has two minor superpowers: speed-reading and babble. She types at over 10,000 words per minute and can make things up even faster than that. Her first job was hunting snipe for her father at twenty-five cents per head, with which she paid her way through college; her latest job involves a non-disclosure agreement, a dozen hitmen, a ballerina, a snowblower, three very small robots, and a disposable dictator in South America. Her cover job is that of freelance writer, editor, and designer living in Littleton, Colorado, with her husband, daughter, cat, more than one cupboard full of various condiments, and many shelves full of the very best books. She has her own indie small press, www.WonderlandPress.com, and her website is www.DeAnnaKnippling.com.

 


Do you have a Sweet Success you would like to share? Click here to get started, or send an email to: SweetSuccess@pikespeakwriters.com

Sweet Success is coordinated by Managing Editor, Kathie “KJ” Scrim.